As we continued to discuss branding, I walked my client through my Branding Approach. I explained the differences between branding and marketing and how marketing is also strategic in is own sense as both a brand strategy and marketing strategy work together toward a common goal. For example, your brand strategy is to become the best at producing widgets and your marketing strategy is to increase your market share of the widgets market. Now create a marketing plan that integrates both strategies through a marketing mix implementation.
My Branding Approach is as three-step process
Step 1 – Storytelling Process – While our end result is a story, we must walk through this process to understand how to craft the right story. In doing so, we research our existing brand and audience to identify our strengths and create audience personas. This helps us to understand our brand in our audiences mind.
Storytelling is just as important as your strategy as it helps craft the strategy. Great story pulls your audience in, just as a great movie does the same. Once you can gather all the key elements of your story; the beginning, the middle and end, you can develop your story. This approach is called VVAPS (Vision, Values, Audience, Promise, Story).
- What is your Brand Vision – Set Milestones
- What are your Core Values – Who We are and Why Others should Care. A company review can help determine your existing values and help establish new ones. This can include:
- Branding Review
- Company mission/purpose
- Brand position statement
- Why you can believe
- Brand attributes
- Messaging Tone
- Elevator Pitch
- Review/Identify/Create Audience Personas – Research and gather data to determine your audience and their wants and needs. Identify strengths to your audience(s) including services and industries and prioritize.
- What is your Brand Promise – What you want to guarantee to your audience
- Create Your Story – Who are We Now. Now you have all the information to properly draft your story and let the right audience know what you do, how you do it and most importantly, why you do it!
Step 2 – Brand Strategy – Now that you know what your story is, you can set your brand strategy based on your VVAPS exercise. Many strategies exist but in the digital world, the key strategies include:
- Content Marketing
- Developing Visible Experts (Influencers)
- Working with Influencers through Strategic Partnerships
- Dominate the social media space of your industry
The key is to integrate a number of approaches in your Brand Strategy within your resources and capabilities. I always recommend content marketing and social media as a primary approach in the digital age as it brings the best ROI to reach your audience.
Step 3 –Implementation – Now its time to create the marketing implementation process. Going back to your VVAPS process, you can now create your marketing mix based on your findings.
- Marketing mix plan to reach your audience(s) through a digital approach. Such a mix should include the type of content needed, topics of discussion (based on personas), how often to reach your audience, budget and distribution platform(s) to reach your audience through content, blogs, keywords, SEO, social media, call to action, CRM, email campaigns, lead capture, social monitoring, etc.; all keeping within your brand strategy.
- Establish baselines through measurement tools to track and target
- Implement your schedule and budget
- Review every three months and adjust accordingly.